Michael Phelps - Swimming
Born on June 30, 1985 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, Michael Phelps is a professional swimmer and probably the most famous Olympian of his generation. He is a legitimate sports star in the United States and in other parts of the world – a legitimate celebrity with the charm and charisma to command the spotlight. But what catapulted him to that position were his record-breaking performances in the Olympic Games. Phelps is the record-holder for the most gold medals won at a single Olympics (8; 2008 Beijing) and most gold medals ever (14).
The Olympic Games Phelps has competed in aren’t the only place he succeeds. Phelps owns 66 medals, 54 gold, 9 silver and 3 bronze, accumulated over the course of 8 years in the Pan Pacific Games, the World Championships, and the Olympic Games. Phelps will return to defend his medals in this year’s Summer Olympic Games in London.
Long before Michael Phelps became the most successful swimmer the world has ever seen, even surpassing Mark Spitz, he was just a scrawny kid from Baltimore who enjoyed swimming. The only difference between Phelps and anyone else his age: He was amazing at it. Phelps was breaking world records by the time he was 10, and he hasn’t stopped since. At age 15, he qualified for and competed in the Summer Olympics in Sydney. He did not win a medal, but he did earn a 5th place finish in the 200m butterfly.
When he was still only 15, in 2001, Phelps became the youngest swimmer to break a professional world record (Ian Thorpe). He would break his own record that same year and win the World Championships. This was just the start of Phelps’ immense success. A lot of athletes have dominated their respective sports. Jordan in basketball, Federer in Tennis. But none have dominated in the way Phelps has.
At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Phelps was a dominant force in nearly every event he entered. He would win six gold medals and two bronze medals, one of which was very highly contested and proved to be one of the most exciting finishes the Olympics had ever seen (until 2008).
In the Beijing Games, Phelps took his dominance to a new level. He competed in eight different events, winning every single one of them. In the 100m butterfly event, Phelps’ last-second reach to the wall was so thrilling that every news network across the country (and possibly the world) replayed the finish for weeks.
In between winning gold medals at the Olympic Games, Phelps has managed to stay one of the most dominant swimmers in history via the World Championships and the Pan Pacific Games. As he approaches the 2012 Games, there is little doubt that Phelps will be a favorite in every event he decides to compete in.
- 2002 Pan Pacific Games – Gold (3), Silver (2)
- 2003 World Championships – Gold (4), Silver (2)
- 2004 Olympic Games – Gold (6), Bronze (2)
- 2005 World Championships – Gold (5), Silver
- 2006 Pan Pacific Games – Gold (5), Silver
- 2007 World Championships – Gold (7)
- 2008 Olympic Games – Gold (8)
- 2009 World Championships – Gold (5), Silver
- 2010 Pan Pacific Games – Gold (5)
- 2011 World Championships – Gold (4), Silver (2), Bronze
- 2012 Summer Olympics – Gold (4), Silver (2)